KARMA, PAST LIVES AND DESTINY fortune telling trip in Bangkok

Were you Cleopatra in your last life?

Ever wonder about what lies ahead or who and where you were in a past life? (After all, we could not all have been Cleopatra, Alexander the Great or Jack the Ripper.) Karmic guidance is easily found in Bangkok  from countless practitioners of astrology, palm reading, tarot card reading and even phrenology (the reading of bumps on the head). Your guide knows where the most gifted of these seers hang out and will translate for you on your special journey of discovery. Regardless of whether or not you take any of this seriously, you will enjoy the kind of unusual Thai experience that most tourists never have, and end up with a fabulous story to tell back home.

Bangkok is riddled with portals into the spirit world as well as mystical mediums adept at  channeling news from the parallel realms of past and future. Visit a respected "Doctor Seer" in the shadowed, sacred compounds of Wat Po. Prepare a small offering, plus your date, place and time of birth, and your life's path will lay revealed. Shake out a bamboo stick fortune while you pray for guidance, receive a splashing of holy water, or meditate on good deeds while a chanting monk ties a charmed string around your wrist for protection.

Later, pay respects at the spirit-possessed Lak Muang Shrine housing Bangkok's "city pillar," a powerful lingam (stone penis) that guards the metropolis with awesome ferocity. Wish for anything, but be prepared to honor the spirits if your wishes come true.

If you are concerned about virility or fertility (of if you want to see something completely unexpected) we can take you to visit the hard-to-find Tub Tim Srine (better known as the "penis shrine"). This unusual little garden is home to hundreds of "palad kik," or linga with magical properties. You will see carved penises of every size color and description. Some of them have penises of their own. In case you find yourself giggling, many local people will attest to the fact that a pilgrimage to this Garden of Fertility has been responsible for many pregnancies for parents who had all but given up hope.

Along the way we can stop at the Erawan Shrine, probably the most colorful and popular place to ask the spirit world for special favors. Those in need of good fortune light incense and say a prayer at each of the four corners of the shrine. Why not try it yourself? But be forewarned, if your wish is granted you are obligated to supply a maiden to dance naked around the shrine three times.

If you like you may also visit an alley marketplace where sacred amulets are traded and sold. As the sun sets, fortune tellers set up shop, ringing the Sanaam Luang parade ground. There, in glimmering candle light, omens and oracles are conjured from palms, physiognomy, facial features, and all manner of obscure and ancient practices passed down from the mists of time. Practitioners you find here are also adept at unraveling in the hidden magic of the spelling of your name. You could actually end up being renamed before the day is through if the name you have been carrying about all of these years is deemed unlucky. We recommend choosing the oldest seer you can find and you will probably be astonished by what you are told.

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personal guide, but excludes local transportation, lunch and small donations to fortune tellers. Please buy lunch for the guide.